Just a few days before its scheduled opening, the Code Purple winter homeless shelter in the former Troop 7 building near Lewes has no volunteers for overnight stays. Five other shelters in Sussex County opened Dec. 1.
The opening of the Lewes-area shelter has been pushed back to Monday, Dec. 13, said Nikki Gonzalez, executive director of Code Purple.
She said that will give time to train and register volunteers for overnight stays at the shelter. At least one person, but preferably two, are needed each night, Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez said a volunteer training session for the shelter was scheduled for Dec. 2 at Conley's United Methodist Church near Lewes.
She said last year, COVID-19 emergency funding was available to fund staff at the shelter, but there are no funds this year.
For more information or to volunteer, phone 302-956-6006, Ext. 302. Information is also available at codepurplesussexcounty.com. Love Inc. of Mid-Delmarva, based in Seaford, helps coordinate the Code Purple program.
Code Purple shelters will be open through March 15, regardless of the outdoor temperature.
Shelters are open to the homeless who register in advance seven nights a week. Each shelter has a maximum of 14 beds.
The Lewes shelter at 18006 Coastal Highway is open for men only from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. The shelter was first opened in January 2020 and then again in December 2020.
The shelter is a collaborative effort with the Community Resource Center in Rehoboth Beach. Those staying at the shelter are given DART bus passes to the center during the day to take showers and do laundry. Services are also available to assist the homeless.
Gonzalez said homeless women seeking overnight shelter are transported to shelters accepting women in Seaford or Milford. “We are not going to leave anyone outside,” she said.
A donated meal is provided at shelters each night through a variety of sources. In Lewes, meals are prepared by people in the community and delivered to the shelter.
Other shelter locations:
St. Luke's Parish Hall, 202 N. North St., Seaford, men only, 8 p.m. to 7 a.m.
Grace Seaford Church, 805 Atlanta Road, Seaford, women only, 8:30 p.m. to 7 a.m.
Avenue United Methodist Church, 20 N. Church Ave., Milford, men only, 8:30 p.m. to 7 a.m.
Milford Nazarene Church, 11 NW Salevan Place, Milford, women with or without children, 8 p.m. to 7 a.m.
Georgetown Presbyterian Church, 203 N. Bedford St., Georgetown, men only, 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. Monday-Friday and 10:30 p.m. to 7 a.m. on Saturday.
Beds are reserved by calling Love Inc. at 302-629-7050 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday-Friday, and the Code Purple hotline at 302-519-0024.
Donations are needed
Donations are needed to support the shelters and the homeless who sleep there. For a complete list of needed items and drop-off centers, go to codepurplesussexcounty.com/needs. In the Cape Region, donations can be taken to Boulevard Ford Lincoln of Lewes, 18443 Coastal Highway.
Among donations needed at the shelters are laundry and cleaning products, bed linens and blankets, paper products, trash bags and cases of water.
Donations are also needed for go-bags given to each person every morning. Those include such items as canned foods with pop tops, oatmeal bars, snack bags, fruit, applesauce and pudding cups, juice boxes and small bottles of juice and other liquids.
Donations by check can be mailed to Love Inc., PO Box 542, Seaford, DE 19973.